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Study Skills

# Math Anxiety

OK, so math makes a lot of people nervous. Is there any hope? You bet there is. Below are a few helpful hints. Maybe they can help take the myth-tery out of math.

**No one is alone!**Relax. Many people dislike and are nervous about math. Even mathematicians are unsure of themselves and get that sinking, panicky feeling called "math anxiety" when they first confront a new problem.**If there is math anxiety, admit it.**If one pretends not to have it, he or she will not learn to overcome or manage it.**Practice a little math each day.**(Mozart did not learn how to play the piano just by watching.)**Ask questions.**Some people think asking questions is a sign of weakness. It's not. It's a sign of strength. In fact, other students will be glad. (They have questions too.)**Do math in a way that's natural.**There's often more than one way to work a math problem. Maybe the teacher's way stumps a student at first. Don't give up. Work to understand it in a way that is comfortable. Then it will be easier to understand it the teacher's way. Remember, "Each mind has its own method."**Notice the handwriting when doing math.**The sloppier it gets the more confused or angry one becomes. When it gets really sloppy, STOP. Look away for a few seconds. Then erase the messy parts. Start again. Try to not let attitude interfere with learning math.**Know the basics.**Review math from earlier grades. Maybe a student missed something. Face it: math builds on itself. One has to go back and relearn it. (Don't think, "I couldn't learn it before, so I can't learn it now." Remember, it's never too late to learn.**Don't go by memory alone.**Try to understand math. Memorizing is a real trap. When one is nervous, memory is the first to go.**Trouble with the text? Get another math book.**Maybe a book in the library will explain things better.**Get help.**Everyone needs help now and then. Try to**form a study group**with friends. Two heads (or three) are better than one.**Get a tutor**, or**take a review course**.

Click here to take the Math Study Skills Inventory

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```"Do You Have Math Anxiety?: A Self Test" and " Ten
Ways to Cut Down on Math Anxiety" are presented, with minor changes,
from, "Nervous in Numberland," Scholastic Math, September,
1984, pp. 9 and 11. [From Math! A Four Letter Word: Study Guide, Public
Films, Inc., 1988, pp. 29-31.